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Cocktail Songs, Iron Chefs and Naked Bartenders

July 13, 2010 By: Jack Robertiello


Appleton Estate Reserve Rum wants your ideas for its Re-Mixology competition. Here’s the pitch: “In writing a song, the chorus has to be the main theme and hook. Appleton Estate Reserve is the ‘theme and hook’ in your cocktail. Build the theme, add the verses, top with a title and garnish with a picture and then explain your inspiration when submitting your original cocktail recipe at: www.AppletonReserveMixologyChallenge.com.” Your cocktail creation also should follow a few guidelines: It must contain Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaica Rum as the main ingredient, be inspired by a recognizable and published song and be an original creation. The cocktail will be judged not only on taste and originality, but also on presentation, creativity and fusion of song to cocktail. Don’t dawdle – the deadline is July 26.


Christopher James of Ashes Cigar Club, Red Bank, N.J., won the New York Cocktail Competition held by the folks from Cognac (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac) last month at New York Bar & Wine Show. James beat out 16 other bartenders and took home $2,000 for his “Strawberry Mud,” made with Cognac, strawberry puree, chocolate liqueur, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Each participant presented before a live audience and judges, including Junior Merino of The Liquid Chef, spirit sommelier Ethan Kelly of NYC's Brandy Library and Michael Waterhouse, founder of Drink Tank and mixologist at Dylan Prime. Second place prize went to Victoria D’Amato-Moran for her “French Slipper,” and third went to to Dimitrios Zahariadis of The Hills in Waterbury, Conn., for his “Curios George.”


Twelve mixologists went head-to-head last month in Miami Beach at Gran Sierpe Pisco’s “Iron Chef” competition at B Bar in The Betsy. Contestants created signature Gran Sierpe cocktails using one of two secret ingredients presented to them, including ponzu sauce, chocolate bacon and garlic. The four judging panelists — Gran Sierpe's owner Herbie Loebl, The Workshop owner Jourdan Binder, and Gabe Orta and Elad Zvi of BarLab — picked DJ Love of Mercadito’s as the winner for his Tahini Surprise (egg white, lime, scallion, Demerara sugar, tahini paste, pineapple, Dolin Blanc vermouth, Velvet Falernum and Gran Sierpe). Runners-up were Isaac Grillo, Ezra Patek and John Lermayer.

DJ Love


The Stirrings Naked Bartender competition set out to find a brand ambassador and official bartender for the line of mixes and bar ingredients. The panel of judges, which included NYC bartender Joaquin Simo of Death & Co., Jody Samuels Ike, senior brand manager for Diageo and Celia Chen, founder and editor of Notes on a Party, scored six Naked Bartender hopefuls on their creativity and taste with Carlo Romero of San Diego the winner. Romero, a former J.P. Morgan trader, won for his signature cocktail, the Big Apple Fizz (Stirrings Apple Martini Mix, Stirrings Ginger Soda and Ketel One vodka) and, presumably, his chiseled pecs.

Stirrings Naked Bartender


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